It is now established as fact that at the former Swinton Unitarian church chapel yard burial ground is a war grave.
The grave of Private W L Blears a World War 1 soldier that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
So every time I have passed this small piece of SWinton we have amongst us resting a world war 1 hero.
The information I have found out in the last few days is just astonishing.
When the planning application was submitted to Salford Council the officer dealing with the application did not know about the covenant that existed on the land. The covenant was not presented as part of the planning application, which clearly prevents development of the land. The owners of the land had not presented the covenant with the application.
Yet, the church when they handed the land over to salford City Council around 1985, handed the land over with a covenant in place. Then, after a few days the Council officer informs me he is aware of the covenant and has been brought to his attention. Then, a few weeks down the line GVA Grimleys said the covenant had been released. According to Salford Council by the church in exhange for payment.
The Council officer says the Council are not to blame for any predicament because when they sold the precinct they sold the burial ground too with the covenant in place that protects the burial ground from development. All becomes intersting.
When the grand plans where announced, very little mention of a burial ground. When we find out about the burial ground, no mention of the covenant. No mention of a war hero in a war grave. The covenant gets released I am told by the church in exchange for payment.
Well, its a good job war graves have special status. And quite right too.
We can jail a moron for urinating on a war memorial but allow the legal removal of the remains of a soldier buried in his family plot ?
Shame on Salford Council for selling land to a private company that contained a war grave. If its true, I am just as appalled that a covenant can be released by a church in exchange for payment.
Mr mercer as reported in the Salford Advertiser this week may be following procedures under the Disused Burials Ground (Amendment) Act 1981 and so the company is trying to have the remains of the deceased removed and they must apply to The Ministry of Justice for this to be done. However, and its a big HOWEVER :-
The company do not have the power to apply to The Ministry of Justice to have the remains from a war grave removed. They do not have this power.
The sole responsibility and authority rests with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Their starting point is always preservation of the war grave. Only in extenuating circumstances will they approve or agree.
Is the building of a supermarket extenuating circumstances to remove the remains of a war hero buried in his family plot. I would say not and many no doubt would agree.
So in amongst what is becoming a deceitful charade by those that just want to make loads of money at having little or no moral regard for history and for the fact that in this country we respect those war hero's in death over and above what is the norm, it seems there is hope in our struggles to preserve a very important piece of Swinton's history.